Companies Should Heed New EEOC Guidelines

Job Descriptions, Screening Tests That Vary Could Lead To A Lawsuit

Corporations should ensure the job descriptions they post on Internet job boards don’t vary, says the country’s leading alliance of niche employment Web sites. Firms should also guarantee that screening tests for weeding out unqualified job applicants are identical, says NicheBoards.com. If the descriptions or testing varies, a firm could face sanctions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or even legal action.
The Federal agency oversees hiring practices and hears complaints in cases of alleged discrimination. With the rise of Internet recruiting, the EEOC has focused increasingly on how recruiters are using Web sites to find employees. In March, it released its first new hiring guidelines in 24 years. The agency wrote that “employers and recruiters should…disclose the impact which its tests have upon employment opportunities of persons by…race, sex or ethnic group.”
As job boards have played a larger consultative role to corporate recruiters and staffing firms, they’ve also had to consider fairness issues to protect their clients. Altering a job description or screening questions on one Web site without making the same changes on others – even inadvertently - could leave an employer open to accusations of bias. “These guidelines are to be taken very seriously by recruiters,” says Ted Elliott, the founder of Jobscience.com, which serves the healthcare and science communities. “By not following them, by failing to be consistent, companies risk a discriminatory lawsuit.”
Smaller niche job boards are best suited to help companies avoid pitfalls because they provide more individualized customer service than larger Web sites. For example, the Nicheboards.com members often review companies’ job advertisements and offer editing suggestions. They also regularly provide information about hiring trends and issues. To wit, Mr. Elliott can email JobScience clients a copy of EEOC guidelines, which can also be found here. For a full list of EEOC Laws, Regulations and Policy Guidance, go to http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/.“No one wants to be the defining new case,” he says. “Companies need to be up-to-date about the rules.”
Meanwhile, Eric Shannon, the founder of LatPro.com, says companies should use common sense in their recruiting policies and procedures. A poor record in diversity recruiting is a red flag for the EEOC, says Shannon. LatPro posts jobs for bi-lingual, Latino professionals. It doesn’t make sense not to do everything you can to promote diversity in your company,” he says. “If the benefits of recruiting a diversity workforce aren’t enough to motivate an organization, then it should consider the downside.
Nicheboards.com’s 11 members each target separate industries. Together they draw about three million monthly visitors and post thousands of jobs from some of the world’s largest companies. The nicheboards alliance also includes AllRetailJobs.com, CallCenterJobs.com, jobsinthemoney.com, Jobs4HR.com, GreatInsuranceJobs.com, ComputerWork.com, JobsinLogistics.com, DestinyGrp.com and Telecomcareers.net.
Mr. Elliott says the EEOC’s new rules are another sign that job boards have become the primary source of job candidates.” “When the government is watching you, it means you’re in the mainstream of the recruiting world,” he says.


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